About this time of year, 7 years ago, I began my journey with ST. I was thrilled to fully automate my house and kept looking for new opportunities to do so. The ST IDE said I had close to 300 devices (includes virtual, child devices, integrations, etc.) at its peak and a number of you probably know the pain that comes with it. Many posts from this community inspired me and helped me overcome the litany of issues that most hardcore ST users are way too familiar with. Well… I just got to the point I have had enough. I don’t know whether switching away will help solve my issues but doing nothing certainly will not.
I reached a breaking point several times during these past 7 years, and also purchased a Hubitat Elevation in hopes it would be a good replacement, or at the very least, take over all the automations that needed to be more timely & reliable (no cloud !!!). The reality is I never trusted it as a long term solution, and it is far from polished. I am however amazed at the work and constant updates the HE (apparently) small team is pushing out. They probably have a bright future especially if they can make it easier to use, polish it up a bit, and stay ‘local first’. I would expect more ST power users to switch to it just to untangle from the unreliable and slow cloud. Alas Hubitat was not the solution I was looking for…
The past few days I have excluded all my devices from ST and built up my zwave and zigbee mesh networks on Home Assistant. The hardware I picked to run it is the following:
Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB RAM)
Argon One M.2 SATA Case
512GB M.2 SATA SSD
deCONZ ConBee II (Zigbee 3.0 Controller)
Aeotec Z-Stick 7 (Zwave Series 700 Controller)
For those wondering, the RPI boots directly to the SATA SSD drive so I have no SD Card on my RPI4. This will allow for much faster speeds and better reliability (SD Cards are pretty bad choice for high read/write systems). The size of the SSD is simply because it was cheap otherwise they recommend using 128GB.
I have to say that the setup process was easier than I thought it would be, but certainly not ST easy. I like to say that ST is being “Applefied” meaning that they are trying to turn it into a ‘one button toaster’, so to speak, which anyone can operate regardless of their expertise. I do NOT like that trend as this typically comes with fewer options, and a tighter grip on the ecosystem by the company developing it. In other words, the users trade off control, flexibility and options for a more reliable system that doesn’t require constant work. Not sure this is a thorough description but I’d say ST is certainly not fully “Applefied” as for now I only see less control, fewer options and certainly not an equivalent reliability level. Maybe after this big evolution they are going through…
Why now? For a while my HomeSeer (never again!) dimmers & switches have been freezing requiring a power cycle. This is apparently due to the series 500 processor choking up on excessive data on my Zwave mesh network (BTW, @Kianoosh_Karami thanks for all the times you have helped me!!). Recently I found a few of these devices excluded even though I hadn’t done it myself… The big surprise came when I could not add it back as I was over 200 devices! The previous Android app still allowed it, but the latest update closed the “loop hole”. That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back… Obviously ST doesn’t want users with a high number of devices & integrations so I am no longer welcome and I quit.
What have I found these past few days on Home Assistant? SPEEEEEEEEEEEED ! Whoa I am impressed at how fast stuff happens, but it is not a surprise given there is no need for the cloud (love it!)! There are things that require the cloud, such as Alexa integration, but device control is all local. All my devices appear to be fully supported without having to mess around with DTHs. Also, the number of integrations is staggering.
I think this time it is for real. So I am saying farewell to this community as I will likely have little reason to visit. It is super easy to integrate ST into HA so I will keep the hub in case some devices integrate better or only with ST but I am not planning on adding back any Zwave/Zigbee devices. I hear crickets in my account…
There are too many users to thank for their contributions, and I am certain I cannot compile a complete list, but a few are: @JDRoberts @nathancu @jkp @MichaelS @johnconstantelo @orangebucket @rontalley @tonesto7 @krlaframboise
EDIT: …and I just found out you can tag max 10 people anyway…